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Published June 08, 2009, 12:00 AM

Fargo to pay for damage caused by sandbags

Flood-scarred backyards in Fargo might be in line for a city-paid facelift.

By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM

Flood-scarred backyards in Fargo might be in line for a city-paid facelift.

The yard restoration program, which was not implemented after the 1997 flood, should cost less than $1 million, said City Administrator Pat Zavoral.

It applies to certain damage to yard and pavement that were caused by building primary and secondary sandbag levees, as long as property insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency decline to pay for the repairs.

Zavoral presented the program to the City Commission last week, which approved it.

At the commission meeting, City Engineer Mark Bittner asked if allowing homeowners to be repaid for their own work hours – which the program will do – might invite fraud.

“I would suggest that may be difficult to prove,” Bittner said of payments for “sweat equity.”

Zavoral said landscape architects will set standard rates for particular types of repairs to keep homeowners from fudging their bills.

Here is how the program will work, according to the application worksheet:

First, homeowners have to submit claims for the repairs to FEMA and their own insurance provider.

Eligible repairs to restore yard, driveway or patio to pre-flood conditions not covered by either insurance or FEMA can then be handled one of two ways.

Under the first option, owners can hire their own contractor or do the work themselves. Fargo will pay for 80 percent of that repair work. If an insurance company pays the claim and no other reimbursement is given, the city will pay 100 percent of the deductible, up to $2,000.

Under the second option, owners can have the city hire a landscape architect to itemize the needed repair and a contractor to do the work. Owners have to pay for 20 percent of those repairs, but they can opt to pay that through a special assessment.

Documentation will be required for the denial of the insurance and FEMA claims, as well as receipts and estimates for repairs contracted out.

Repairs required due to city-installed clay levees will be handled on a case-by-case basis, Zavoral said.

The deadline for submitting a yard restoration claim to the city is Aug. 31.

For more information

  • To apply online or to get further details on the yard damage program, go to www.cityoffargo.

    com/flood09 or call the city’s Planning Department at (701) 241-1474.


What’s covered

Eligible damage

  • Vegetation and trees

  • Irrigation system repairs

  • Patio repairs

  • Driveways from sidewalk to house

  • Other incidental damage from sandbag placement

Ineligible damage

  • Garage or foundation repairs

  • Damages from pump failure, loss of power, seepage or sewer backup

  • Sprinkler relocation or expansion

  • Equipment purchases

  • Otherwise reimbursed costs


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535

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